3D printing has changed the way companies think about prototyping. With the power of additive manufacturing, turning digital 3D design into physical objects is easier than ever. The startup cost is low, the learning curve is short, and the results are often consistent and satisfactory. But not everything can be printed in 3D. Certain shapes and materials are still more suitable for other manufacturing processes, such as CNC machining or injection molding, and many commercial 3D printers simply cannot produce parts with the tolerances required for practical applications. For some projects, the answer is not in additive manufacturing or traditional processing, but in between. Combining these two processes is easier than you think, and it offers a big advantage. So when should you perform CNC machining on your 3D printing parts, what should you do? When should I process 3D printed parts? Although 3D printing and CNC machining are generally considered to be diametrically opposed processes, they can actually be combined to produce good results. The part is first 3D printed and then the part is CNC machined to reduce or modify certain areas. 1, time emergency When alternatives (usually injection molding or similar) require too much time, companies should consider CNC machining their 3D printed parts. While the sequential process of 3D printing and CNC machining involves multiple steps, the combined approach is generally faster than creating and utilizing a mold processing tool. The combination of 3D printing and CNC machining also allows for mobile adjustment of the product or prototype, as modifying digital files is easier than modifying the injection tool. 2, accuracy is the key The accuracy of 3D printers has increased year by year, but many industries require critical end-use components to have tolerances that are currently not achievable on 3D printers. By combining 3D printing and CNC machining, the required precision can be achieved while still taking advantage of 3D printing, including low cost and complex internal geometry. High-end 3D printers typically achieve tolerances of ±0.005 inches, while CNC machines can compress them to ±0.002. Things to consider when processing 3D printed parts The process of combining 3D printing and CNC machining requires two hands-on expertise and some steps can be taken to ensure smooth manufacturing. 1, comments In order to get the best results when machining 3D printed parts at CNC, it is important to specify exactly what you need to do. This should include specifying which areas require strict tolerances and allowing the mechanic to work properly. When these tolerances are specified, the mechanic may suggest some design adjustments to the 3D printed parts to make the job easier. 2, look at These recommendations may include instructions for using excess material. Since CNC machining will effectively reduce the quality of the part by cutting out some parts, additional material may need to be printed to make these adjustments. If the number of layers is insufficient, the machining process may not produce the correct size. 3, positioning The areas of the 3D printed components that need to be machined should be properly positioned so that the tool can reach them. Hummingbirds found that 3D printing is an important complement to traditional processing methods. Its main function is not to replace but to supplement, therefore, 3D printing and CNC integration is a very good form.